She had taken Charles to be pedantic from the books she saw in his study, utterly conventional underneath all the splendour of his company, his car, his staff, his estate – a charlatan, a fraud. She still wasn’t entirely convinced that he wasn’t any of these things as he led her out of the room and down a richly carpeted gallery lined with lustrous wood panelling and gilt-framed paintings, down the grand master staircase, her heels clicking across tiles laid out in some elaborate pattern and down yet another winding corridor, another corner; another corridor.
Damn, this place was huge. Was there no end to this place?
They stopped outside a large, heavy looking set of wooden doors set in a massive arch which rose to meet the shape of the vaulted ceiling high above them. Charles laid his hands upon the handles of each door, turned to her and winked, then pushed them open.
Sandra’s eyes widened as she took in the sight of the room’s interior. The library was gargantuan. Row upon row of shelves packed with books ranging from paper-covered hardbacks to leather tomes lined the four walls of the room, each wall divided into four floors ascending just out of clear sight. In the vast space between the walls, more book shelves as well as a variety of ornate tables and comfy looking leather upholstered chairs and sofas. It was as large as any city library; a bibliophile’s paradise.
“So, what do you think?” asked Charles, smiling and spreading his arms expansively.
“Hah! Did you get all this from your family, or have you been busy tracking down some of these?”
“Oh, quite a lot of them, most of them in fact, were brought here by my family over the years, but I’ve brought a few books here myself; some of them quite hard to get a hold of” he said, tapping the side of his nose and raising an eyebrow.
“Let’s start with those, shall we?” Sandra replied.